Doctor George : 02 - Nina in Christmas Interlude (f/f)

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Doctor George : 02 - Nina in Christmas Interlude (f/f)

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02 - Nina in Christmas Interlude
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By Doctor George

by Doctor George » Thu May 22, 2014 7:29 am
Christmas Interlude Part 1: Christmas Day

Suzanna stood outside the church after the Christmas morning service. It was always quite short, starting at half past ten and finishing just after eleven. Almost all the congregation had already left but Nina had been singing in the choir, so there were a few minutes to wait while she took her chorister’s cassock off and put her own outer clothes back on.

There had been no snow in town so far that winter, although the tops of the surrounding hills were quite white, but it was nevertheless distinctly chilly standing in the churchyard. Suzanna was wearing her brown sheepskin coat with matching Ugg-style boots. A rusty orange circle scarf was wrapped twice around her neck and pulled up over her chin while a knitted beret in a slightly darker version of the same colour was pulled down almost to her eyebrows. Her orange, cream and brown striped tights just visible in the gap between boots and coat added a touch of jazziness. She was chatting to the vicar, a plump woman in her sixties with her silver hair worn in a ponytail secured by a bow of Christmas-tree tinsel. Her only concession to the cold appeared to be a pair of red woollen mittens, but, as she pointed out to Suzanna, it’s possible to get an amazing number of warm layers on under an Anglican priest’s robes.

“Merry Christmas, Mrs Kirkburton!” Nina said as she emerged from the church.

“Merry Christmas to you too, Nina,” the vicar replied. “But is it really that cold in church?”

Nina was wearing her yellow duffel jacket with the hood up. Below that could be seen the hem of a red dress and her legs clad in orange and black striped tights disappearing into a pair of black Mary-Janes. There was a dark red scarf wound around her neck on top of the hood and knotted at the back. Her face, framed by the hood of her jacket, was almost entirely hidden by a balaclava knitted in purple and dark pink horizontal stripes. Only her eyes were visible through a narrow opening.

“Well it was pretty chilly in the choir stalls,” Nina replied defensively, “but I’m mainly wearing this because it was a pre-Christmas present from my cousin and I want to wear it when we go to see her.”

“I’m glad I don’t need to worry that the choir might be getting frostbite.”

“It’s mainly meant for cycling,” Nina explained. “I can pull it down off my mouth if I get too hot.” She demonstrated, pulling the lower part of the balaclava down with a gloved hand and uncovering a broad grin. “And if it’s really cold, I can do this.” Nina pulled the balaclava back up over her nose then took her glove off so that she could locate the small loop of wool just below the eye opening and hook it over a button just above the eyes, converting the balaclava into a mask with just two eyeholes.

“It’s certainly very cosy like that,” Mrs Kirkburton observed. “But I’d probably scare the parishioners if I wore one of those.”

“We need to be on our way,” Suzanna said, “So I’ll wish you all the best for what’s left of Chistmas, Alice.”

“And the same to you two – enjoy your Christmas dinner.”

“Thank you Mrs Kirkburton – see you next Sunday,” Nina said as she headed down the path with her mother.

Rather than walk back home after church, Suzanna had driven the two of them to the service that morning so that they could head off for Callie’s house immediately.

Nina settled herself in the front passenger seat and fastened her seatbelt. She untied the knot on her scarf and unwound it from around her neck so she could flip her hood back. That done, she wrapped the scarf around her neck again and tied it loosely at the front.

“Aren’t you going to get awfully hot with that woolly mask on?” Suzanna asked as she started the engine.

“Not if we don’t put the heater on.”

“So you want us to be cold so you can wear your new balaclava?”

“Well, I’d sort of like to, if that’s OK?” Nina said, her voice just short of pleading.

“Anything for a quiet life,” her mother replied, turning the heater off and rearranging her own scarf so it covered her mouth and nose.

* * *

Being Christmas day, the roads were almost deserted, so it was not yet quarter to twelve when Suzanna parked her car outside Callie Wolf-Bassenthwaite’s house. Nina and her mother divided the Christmas parcels and their contribution to the meal between them but left their overnight bags in the car for the time being and made their way up the path to the front door.

Aunt Callie opened the door a few seconds after Suzanna rang the bell. She looked at her visitors and commented to Theda, who was just behind her, “Looks like we have an invasion of ninjas.”

“Crazy child insisted on having the car heater off so she could wear her new balaclava,” Suzanna explained, pulling her scarf down now she was indoors.

“I was enjoying Theda’s present to me,” Nina pointed out firmly.

“Well, it’s never that warm in here, but I’m sure you’ll at least want to get your coats off,” Callie said.

Suzanna and Nina both took off their outer layers and handed them to Theda, who hung them up in the hall cupboard. Suzanna’s outfit was revealed as a knee-length dress in an orangey-red colour, picking up the orange stripes in her tights and a chocolate brown cardigan. The hem of Nina’s red dress had been visible under her coat but was now fully revealed as a velour mini-dress buttoned up the front with a turned-over collar. It had actually originally been a tunic top for someone a bit taller than Nina, but after having the sleeves shortened a little by Theda, it made a smart, if somewhat abbreviated, dress. It was cinched in at the waist with a broad leather belt of a slightly darker red.

Nina and her mother sat down on the lowest step of the stairs to remove their outdoor shoes and replaced them with slippers.

“No corsetry today?” Suzanna asked, looking at Callie. “How very 21st century of you,” she added with an impudent grin.

Callie looked down as if surprised by her own attire. She was wearing a blue-grey calf-length skirt with a collarless white blouse on top. The blouse had long tails front and back, rather like and old-fashioned man’s shirt, which emerged below the navy blue knitted waistcoat she wore over it. The outfit was topped off by a long light blue cardigan which came down almost to the hem of the skirt. Under the skirt was a pair of tights in blue, pink and white stripes and a pair of black leather moccasin slippers. “Corsets aren’t really compatible with Christmas dinner,” Callie pointed out, patting her tummy. “I’m dressed strictly for comfort.”

“Comfort with style, Mum,” Theda insisted. “On the other hand, I’ve rather compromised style for warmth,” she added. Theda was wearing a sleeveless dress, mainly white but with a few bold rectangular blocks of red, yellow and blue separated by bold vertical and horizontal black lines, after the manner of a Mondrian painting. It was probably a reproduction rather than an Yves Saint Laurent original from 1965, but effective all the same. Rather than having bare arms and sheer nude tights as would have been the designer’s intention, Theda was wearing a black ribbed turtle neck sweater under the dress and matching warm ribbed tights.

“We’re on track to eat about quarter past one,” Callie announced, returning to practicalities, “so time for a Christmas drink about one.”

“There’s a bottle of rather nice Madeira in that bag,” Suzanna said, indicating the bulky shopping bag she had brought in.

“And mince pies!” Nina added excitedly. “I helped with those.”

“They’re not baked yet – 20 minutes at 200 should be about right,” her mother explained.

“OK, I’ll put them in the kitchen and we can pop them in the oven after the turkey is out,” Callie said, picking up the bag.

“Shall I put the presents under the tree?” Nina asked.

“Yes, please,” her cousin replied.

Nina gathered up as many of the parcels as she could carry and took them into the sitting room.

“We’re here a bit early,” Suzanna said. “Is there anything we can do to help?”

“I don’t think so,” Theda replied. “The table is set and the cooking is all on schedule.”

“Well, we’ll just go into the sitting room and keep out of the way,” Suzanna said, picking up the remaining presents.

“I might be able to offer you something to amuse yourselves with, Aunt Suzie,” Theda said, with a smile and a glint in her eye. She headed into the sitting room and beckoned Suzanna to follow.

Nina was still arranging the presents under the tree to accommodate the ones she had added when Suzanna and Theda entered the room.

“It’ll make a bit more space if I remove these,” Theda said, picking up two paper-wrapped parcels.

Theda waited until her aunt had handed her cousin the remaining parcels and they had been arranged to their mutual satisfaction then handed over the two items she had picked up. “These aren’t your real presents, just a little extra for fun, but you might enjoy playing with them until lunch is ready.”

“Thank you,” Suzanna and Nina said together, both looking a little puzzled.

“Fairly heavy and rather squashy,” Nina summarized after Theda had left the room, feeling the parcel through the wrapping.

“Better see what’s in them,” Suzanna said.

“It’s a scarf,” Nina said, ripping the paper off. “No, several scarves,” she amended, “and one of them is a crazy length.”

“I don’t think these are for keeping warm in winter,” Suzanna said. “Have you found the piece of paper that’s in with them?”

“I have now.” Nina unfolded the sheet of paper that had been packed inside. It was clearly the result of considerable effort and styled after a Victorian advertising handbill:

Miss Theodora Wolf-Bassenthwaite


“Stay Put”BRAND

Restraint Knitwear

Crafted from the finest wool yarn for unsurpassed comfort coupled with assured confinement. Designed to resist the most determined efforts at self-liberation. Resistant to stretching, tearing or fraying and fully washable for long and satisfactory service.

More prosaically, the page also included a note of the brand of sock yarn that had been used and detailed washing instructions.

“I remember telling Theda one time how much fun it was being tied up with winter scarves,” Nina said, “but I wasn’t expecting this.”

“Let’s see what we’ve got,” Suzanna said, spreading out the contents of her package.

“We’ve got different colours,” Nina pointed out. Her set was in a yarn which gave a variegated mix of reds, pinks and greys while her mother’s was in blues greens and greys.

“OK, everything seems to be the same width, 15 centimetres or so,” Suzanna said, comparing her scarves. “Presumably all done on the same setting on the knitting machine.”

Nina had started to lay hers out methodically on the floor. “Two about a metre long, two a bit longer, say a metre and a half, two longer still, maybe 2 metres and the incredibly long one.” Nina folded the longest scarf in half then in half again. “Must be 4 metres,” she estimated.”

“And there’s these,” Suzanna said, holding up two very short scarves from her set. Both were only about 8 centimetres wide and one had a much narrower section half way along its length.

“Blindfold and gag!” Nina exclaimed, deducing their use.

“Shall we play with them now?” Suzanna asked with a mischievous smile.

“There’s only two of us,” Nina pointed out. “Shall we toss a coin for who gets tied up?”

“I think we can do better than that,” her mother replied with a sly grin. “We can tie each other up.”

“Does that work?” Nina asked doubtfully.

“When we were little girls, Callie and I did that quite often.”

“Wow,” Nina replied, trying to imagine the situation. “Wasn’t there a risk of not being able to untie yourselves again afterwards?”

“We both got to be quite good escapers with practice, but we had a few disasters too.”

“You mean you got stuck sometimes?”

“Really, really stuck on one occasion. It actually happened in this house – it used to belong to Callie’s mum and dad. One of the attic bedrooms has a sort of storage room off it. It’s just the space under the eaves, but it has a proper floor and walls, making a long thin triangular room with a tiny window at one end. Callie had annexed it as her playroom. We tied each other up in there one time and just couldn’t get the ropes off, no matter how hard we tried. We couldn’t even reach the door handle to get out of the room. Callie’s mum couldn’t hear us because we’d gagged ourselves with big strips of Elastoplast and we couldn’t get it off because we were wearing gloves. She came looking for us eventually, but we’d been tied up for about three hours by that time. We both ended up with a lot of bruises and poor Callie had a red rash around her mouth from the plaster.”

“Ow,” Nina said, sympathetically. “At least rescue isn’t far away if we get stuck today.”

“I think we’ll be OK,” Suzanna agreed. “Are you up for it?”

“Definitely. How do we do this?”

“Let’s both sit on the sofa and we’ll start at the bottom and work our way upwards. I think we’re supposed to use one of the metre-ish ones for our ankles and then the two slightly longer ones for knees.” Suzanna moved her bundle of scarves so they were within easy reach and started to tie her own ankles together.

“Cinched or not?” Nina asked.

“Whichever you prefer.”

Nina settled for just lashing her ankles together and got one more turn of scarf around them than her mother who had slightly thicker legs and chose to cinch her binding.

“Now above and below knees,” Suzanna prompted.

As before, Nina chose a simple lashing while her mother cinched her knee bindings.

“This is where we have to start tying each other up,” Suzanna said. “Use the really long scarf around my upper arms and chest.”

Nina picked the scarf up then hesitated. “How high up?”

“Above elbows, below boobs,” Suzanna instructed. “And pull it as tight as you can – there will probably be a bit of give in the scarf, despite Theda’s advertising leaflet.”

Nina managed four turns of the scarf around her mother then tied it off with a firm knot at the front.

“Now I do the same to you,” Suzanna said, “but I’ll need a bit of help as I’m already more tied up than you.”

Nina held one end of the scarf while her mother wrapped it tightly around her. Suzanna was able to wind it around her daughter five times before forming the knot.

“Do we want gags?” Nina asked. “Because we’ll have to do them before our hands are tied.”

“I think we should, seeing as Theda has made them specially, but I don’t want a blindfold today,” Suzanna said.

“Nor me,” Nina replied, twisting sideways as she reached down to pick up the gag. She quickly discovered that she could no longer reach up far enough to tie her own gag.

“I think we’ll have to do each other,” her mother said.

Nina handed the gag to Suzanna, turned her back and slumped down slightly so it could be tied in place.

“Now before you do mine, we have to agree how to do our hands,” Suzanna said, handing her gag to her daughter.

Nina nodded.

“Use the other short scarf to tie my wrists and use a cinched binding or a figure-of-eight or something like that so that I have enough freedom of movement to tie your wrists with mine already tied.”

Nina nodded again then gagged her mother as soon as she moved into a position where Nina could reach.

Suzanna picked up a short scarf and handed it to Nina before turning sideways on the sofa and working her arms round behind her back.

Nina formed a cinched figure-of-eight binding around her mother’s wrists and knotted it off securely. Suzanna tested the binding with a few twists of her wrists then signalled her approval with a thumbs up sign.

After picking up a short scarf and putting it into her mother’s hands, Nina worked her own arms round behind her back, struggling against the friction of the long scarf that encircled her. Once she had her hands together, she turned her back towards her mother.

Suzanna glanced over her shoulder then positioned Nina’s hands so that her wrists were crossed. With an occasional glance to check what she was doing, she lashed her daughter’s wrists tightly together with several turns horizontally then vertically and finished off with a tight knot.

Now both securely tied up, Nina and Suzanna settled back on the sofa and looked at each other, enjoying their shared predicament.

Theda came into the sitting room after about half an hour, carrying a tray of nuts, crisps and other nibbles. She stopped dead in her tracks and did a classic double-take. “I wasn’t expecting you both to be tied up.”

After putting the tray down, Theda crossed the room to the sofa where the two prisoners sat side-by-side. “Lean forward, so I can see how your hands are tied,” she said.

Nina and Suzanna obediently leaned forwards and Theda craned her neck forwards to inspect their bonds. “That’s impressive,” she said after a careful examination. “I know how to tie myself up, but that needs thin rope and fairly careful preparation. What you’ve done to each other looks really good.”

Suzanna mumbled her acknowledgement of the compliment. Nina nodded her agreement.

“I’ll be back in fifteen minutes or so and get you out of that so you can freshen up before we eat.

* * *

True to her word, Theda untied Suzanna and Nina at about quarter to one. After taking the opportunity to use the bathroom and to tidy themselves up, they joined their hosts in the sitting room for drinks. The grown-ups enjoyed the Madeira that Suzanna had provided while Nina contented herself with suitably Christmassy non-alcoholic mulled wine.

The meal was everything a Christmas dinner should be. There was a fish chowder to start then turkey accompanied by roast potatoes, brussels sprouts, chestnut stuffing and carrots.

“Who’s for Christmas pudding or mince pies?” Suzanna asked, as the dessert provider, after the main course was over.

Everyone declared themselves too full to eat anything more and a unanimous decision was reached to revisit the question in an hour or so.

“You two have been working hard, so Nina and I will see to the washing up,” Suzanna announced, getting to her feet.

“Nonsense,” Aunt Callie countered. “Most of it can go straight in the dishwasher and you’re our guests.”

“We insist don’t we, Nina,” Suzanna persisted. “You two relax in the sitting room for ten minutes and we’ll bring you some coffee.”

Nina nodded her agreement, then said, “We could make sure they relax in the sitting room, Mum. I saw a box of useful stuff in the back of the hall cupboard when we were putting out coats away.”

“Now, there’s a thought,” Suzanna said.

Callie and Theda looked at each other and shrugged. With an air of amused surrender, they got up and made their way to the sitting room. Nina darted off to the hallway to retrieve the box of ropes she had seen.

When Nina arrived in the sitting room clutching a plastic storage box full of rope, Callie and Theda were sitting in armchairs, waiting for her. “How do we tie them to chairs that big and squashy?” she asked her mother.

“Very gently,” Suzanna replied, “seeing as they’re both full of Christmas dinner.”

“This is a mess,” Nina said looking at the tangle of rope in the box and ignoring her mother’s witticism.

“Well, you sort out the rope and I’ll do the tying,” Suzanna suggested. “Find pieces the right length for wrists, ankles and knees first.”

While Nina knelt on the floor, unloading rope from the box and disentangling it, her mother set to work deploying it. She bound and cinched Theda’s wrists in front of her, then similarly tied her ankles and her legs below the knees. As Callie’s chair was designed to recline, she had her tip it back before tying her up. She bound Callie’s wrists and legs in the same way, discovering on the way that the striped tights Callie was wearing actually turned out to be knee-length socks pulled up over pink long johns.

“We need some longer bits now,” Suzanna said, leaning over Nina to see what she had found in the box.

Working together Suzanna and Nina wound a long length of rope several times around Theda and her chair so it formed a band going across her arms at elbow level. Suzanna tipped Theda’s chair slightly sideways so that Nina could thread a length of rope underneath it. They tied one end to Theda’s ankle binding ant the other to the middle of the rope around her middle where it went across the back of the chair. Finally, they ran a rope from Theda’s wrists down to her ankles to prevent her lifting her hands.

Callie’s reclining chair rewired a slightly different approach. They tied her ankle binding to the footrest which had risen up as the chair tilted back. They put a band around Callir and the back of her chair as they had done with Theda then finished off in the same way with a rope from wrists to ankles.

“Gags?” Nina suggested.

“The job would only be half done if we didn’t gag them,” Suzanna assured her daughter, “and I’ve thought of something suitably Christmassy.”

Suzanna left the room and returned a few minutes later with two mandarin oranges in one hand and rather stretched looking silk scarves in the other. “These should be small enough to go right inside their mouths,” she explained, holding the oranges up. “And I found the scarves in what looks like Callie’s toy box upstairs.”

“I know the box you mean,” Nina commented.

The mandarins worked as Suzanna predicted, fitting neatly into their mouths. The scarves tied in place as over-the-mouth gags kept them in place.

“Washing up time,” Suzanna said, leading Nina out of the room.

* * *

Suzanna and Nina cleared the dining table and loaded the dishwasher then set to work to hand wash the items that either had to be hand washer or that wouldn’t fit in the machine. While they were doing that, the mince pies that they had brought were heating in the oven. Suzanna made a pot of coffee while Nina took the pies out of the oven and arranged them on a plate.

They returned to the sitting room with the coffee and mince pies about an hour after tying Callie and Theda to their chairs. They were both still securely tied up, but Callie had managed to work her gag down below her mouth and had ejected the mandarin a surprising distance across the room. Theda had been less successful at attempting the same manoeuvre and was now cleave gagged by the scarf that had been tied over her mouth.

“It’s always good to put your feet up on Christmas afternoon,” Callie commented as Suzanna untied her.

Coffee was poured and mince pies distributed. After a few minutes, Theda suggested, “Should we open presents next?”

“Good idea,” her mother agreed, adding, “Nina, why don’t you be Santa?”

Nina needed no further prompting. She left her seat and knelt down beside the Christmas tree. She carefully manoeuvred a long, narrow parcel out from under the tree and handed it to Theda.

“Gosh it’s heavy,” Theda commented. She felt the shape of the gift through the wrapping paper. “No, haven’t a clue,” she concluded.

“You could always open it,” Suzanna suggested.

Theda ripped the paper away and looked in puzzlement at the bundle of wooden rods that was revealed. They were of various lengths, about 3 centimetres in diameter and decoratively turned like parts of a piece of furniture. Some thinner parts had screw threads worked into the wood. “Still haven’t a clue,” Theda confessed.

“There was an information sheet in with it,” Nina said, examining the discarded wrapping. She located an A4 sized sheet of paper and handed it to Theda.

Theda studied the page, which had annotated photographs showing how to assemble the parts and the finished object. The photographs mostly showed Nina performing the assembly and the annotations were in Suzanna’s writing. “It’s a tapestry frame!” Theda exclaimed with obvious delight.

“We think it dates from the 1920s,” Suzanna explained, “except for the bits that we had to repair and the ones that were missing that we had to replace.”

Theda looked at the pile of parts and noticed that a few of them were obviously very new wood. “Thank you – that looks like a lot of work.”

“We did spend a quite few evenings in the garage working on it,” Suzanna admitted.

“Mum did the really tricky bits like the screw thread, but I did some of the turned carving,” Nina pointed out.

“It’s brilliant and I’ll make good use of it,” Theda declared.

“One for you, Aunt Callie,” Nina said, retrieving another package from under the tree. “Watch out, it’s heavy,” she warned as she passed it to her aunt.

Callie took the parcel and laid it on her lap. It was quite large and rectangular. “It has to be a book,” she said feeling her present through the wrapping paper.

“Hard to disguise,” Suzanna conceded.

Callie ripped the paper off and found that she was holding a bound volume of 1920s fashion magazines. She leafed through the pages, looking at the illustrations. “This is amazing – wherever did you find it?”

“I spotted it in a second hand bookshop in York in the summer,” Suzanna explained, “and I thought of you. Your birthday was already past, so it’s been stashed away ever since.”

“I love it – thank you.”

“Open one of yours next,” Suzanna suggested to Nina.

After rummaging under the tree, Nina picked the largest parcel she could find with her own name on it. It was rather irregularly shaped and fairly heavy. She felt it all over and tentatively concluded, “Boots?”

“Open it and find out,” Callie said.

Nina tore open one end of the wrapping and peeked inside. “It is boots!” she exclaimed, pulling the rest of the paper away.

The boots were knee length in a deep mahogany brown with laces up the front and a zip up the inside face so they didn’t have to be laced from scratch every time.

“Can I try them on?” Nina asked.

“They’re not new, but the soles are clean, so go ahead,” Callie replied.

Nina kicked her slippers off, unzipped one of the boots and put her foot inside. She carefully pulled the zip up and then repeated the process with the other boot. “They’re a little bit big,” she said, getting to her feet.

“Intentionally so,” Callie said. “They should last you a year or two before you grow out of them and you’ll have to wear them with thick socks to start with.”

“You’ll want socks on in the middle of winter anyway,” Theda pointed out. “I can put a pair of thick insoles in them to start with if they’re still too big.”

“They’re beautifully shiny,” Nina commented. “Was that your work?”

“They were a bit sad when we got them in the shop,” Theda replied, “but I’ve restored the leather and polished them up and they’ve come up rather nicely.”

“And you can swap them for another pair when you grow out of them,” said Callie.

“And they’ve got a little bit of a heel,” Nina said, leaning forwards to look at her own feet. “Thank you – they’re gorgeous.”

Nina removed her boots again and stood them carefully in the corner of the room before returning to the Christmas tree. “One for you, Mum,” she said handing over a long narrow package.

“No, haven’t a clue,” Suzanna said feeling the present through its wrapping. “Still haven’t a clue,” she said as she drew out a surprisingly heavy red satin object.” She turned it in her hands then exclaimed, “Ohmygod – it’s a corset!”

“It should be a pretty good fit,” Theda said. “It’s not new, but I’ve completely replaced the lining and the trim and I’ve altered it to be an accurate fit on your measurements.”

Suzanna held the corset up. It was an over-bust corset, flared out to sit on the hips at the lower edge. It was covered in cherry red satin with black brocade trim and black fabric covered buttons on the busk. The lacing at the back was also black.

“When am I ever going to wear something this glam?” Suzanna asked.

“You’d be surprised what a difference it makes to a smart dress,” Callie said. “It gives you a poise and a touch of extra confidence just by wearing it.”

“What do you think, Nina?” Suzanna asked.

“I think it’s brilliant,” her daughter replied, “and I dare you to wear it in full view as a top.”

“You’d look great like that, Auntie Suzie,” Theda said. “Wear it with a wide black skirt and a black jacket and it would look amazing.”

“Thank you,” Suzanna said, still admiring the corset. “I’m still in shock, but thank you.”

“There’s another big one for you, Nina,” Theda prompted.

Nina picked up the parcel her cousin was pointing out and probed it with her fingers. “More knitting?” she ventured as she tore the paper open. “New pink sweater!” she exclaimed as she pulled the wrapping away.

After carefully unfolding the new sweater, Nina held it up by its shoulders. “It’s a super thick one,” she commented, “and it’s got a hood.”

“I know you sometimes like wearing a sweater as a top layer, so I thought you might like one that’s cosy enough to wear instead of a jacket sometimes,” Nina explained.

“It’s brilliant!” Nina declared, giving her cousin a hug.

* * *

As the afternoon wore on, various lesser gifts changed hands and more coffee and mince pies were consumed. Eventually, after a lull in proceedings, Theda asked, “Time for the annual Uno tournament?”

A cuthroat game of Uno had become a Christmas tradition whenever Suzanna’s and Callie’s families got together. The standard rules were varied by using two complete decks of cards to make it last longer, by dealing a hand of 10 cards instead of 7 and by playing to eliminate players from the game. In standard Uno, the winner is the player who manages to get rid of all their cards and wins the game on putting down the least card. In this variation, when a player put down their last card, the player who put down the previous card was eliminated from the game and the winning player acquired all their cards. This led to some subtle strategic niceties to avoid being eliminated when another player was close to putting down their last card.

“Now that you’ve come clean about the games you used to play,” Callie said to Suzanna, “maybe we should do this the way we sometimes did card games when we were kids.”

“How was that?” Nina asked, intrigued by Aunt Callie’s conspiratorial tone.

Suzanna began the explanation after exchanging glances with Callie. “Well, we used to play Snap as an elimination game and, when we got a bit older, it was Old Maid and then Rummy. The person who got eliminated...”

“ tied up?” Nina suggested, sensing where this was going.

“I think she’s getting the hang of being your daughter,” Callie commented with a laugh.

The room was rearranged slightly so that Callie and Suzanna could sit on the sofa with a square coffee table in front of them while Theda and Nina sat on the floor on the opposite side of it. The game progressed in near silence as the discard pile built up. The end stages of the game were when the real strategy came into play, and the action cards that the players had been hoarding began to be used, the ‘skip’ and ‘reverse direction’ cards being particularly dangerous.

Despite her best efforts, Nina was the first to be eliminated, with a “Nooooo!” of exasperation as Theda played her last card.

“Tie up time, cousin dearest,” Theda announced with a broad grin.

Nina handed her remaining cards over with good grace and stood up. Theda made use of the bundle of tying up scarves to bind her cousin’s wrists behind her back and to tie her ankles before consigning her to one of the empty armchairs.

With only three players, the fortunes fluctuated more rapidly, each of them getting close to getting rid of all their cards only to be thwarted. A combination of luck and skill combined to allow Theda to put down her last card again, this time eliminating her mother.

A few moments later, Callie had submitted herself to the indignity of being tied hand and foot and then parked in an armchair like Nina.

“How about we call it a draw?” Theda suggested to Suzanna. “I’d really like to take you upstairs and help you with some ideas for that corset.”

“Sounds fun,” Suzanna replied with a shy grin. “We’d better make sure Nina stays put though – she can do that thing where you slide your hands under your bottom to escape.”

“You’re right – we don’t want her interrupting our fun,” Theda agreed. “I know what to do.”

Theda lifted Nina bodily off her chair and carried her to the sofa and sat her down. She returned to the heap of tying up scarves and selected the longest one of Nina’s set, which she used to bind her cousin’s upper arms to her sides. She used one of the shorter ones to tie Nina’s legs together above her knees.

“I have a bad feeling about what’s going to happen next,” Nina said as her cousin took another short scarf from the heap.

“This possibly?” Theda said as she swung Nina’s feet up onto the sofa, tipped her over onto her side then rolled her onto her tummy. She lifted Nina’s feet and bent her knees so that her heels were touching her bottom then used the scarf to link her ankle binding to the scarf wound around her chest.

“Yes, that,” Nina confirmed.

Suzanna had left the room a few minutes earlier. She returned carrying a bundle of handkerchiefs. “The mandarin orange trick didn’t work that well,” she said, “so I got these from the utility room. I hope you don’t mind.”

“They’ve probably been used this way before,” Callie said, opening her mouth to allow Suzanna to push one of the handkerchiefs inside.

Suzanna held the handkerchief in place with a second one folded into a band and tied between Callie’s teeth. Theda applied a similar gag to Nina at the same time.

“That should keep them amused while we play dressing up,” Suzanna said, picking up her corset and following Theda out of the room.

Nina started struggling against her bonds as soon as she and Aunt Callie had been left alone.

* * *

When Theda and Suzanna returned to the sitting room some time later, they found that both Callie and Nina were still tied up. Callie was sitting, apparently quite contentedly, in the armchair where she had been left. Nina had rolled over onto her side so that she was facing away from the back of the sofa with her arms and legs tied behind her.

Despite her gag, Nina’s exclamation of “Wow!” was quite clear.

“You like?” Suzanna asked, executing a twirl in the middle of the room.

Nina nodded emphatically in reply.

Suzanna had, with Theda’s help, carried out a raid on Callie’s wardrobe. She was wearing a loose collarless white cotton blouse as a chemise under the red corset. The blouse came slightly below her hips with a dark red, almost black heavy cotton skirt under it. The skirt was printed with a barely discernible floral pattern in a slightly brighter red. The skirt, which was mid-calf length on Suzanna was bulked out by several layers of white cotton petticoat which could be glimpsed below its hem. She was wearing black woollen tights but no shoes. A black crocheted woollen shawl was draped around her shoulders to add to the Bohemian theme.

“Finding stuff that fits someone my height was a bit of a challenge,” but Theda was determined to find something that would work.

“I know Mum and I are ridiculously tall,” Theda said, “but Aunt Suzie is at the other extreme.”

“I’m five feet three,” Suzanna pointed out indignantly.

“So, 160 centimetres,” Theda commented after a pause for mental arithmetic. “That’s about 18 centimetres less than Mum and me.”

“About seven inches,” Suzanna acknowledged after doing the reverse calculation. “OK, I take your point.”

“All of Mum’s tights and mine were way too long, so I had to put her in a pair of stockings.”

“And it feels really weird if your not used to stockings,” Suzanna said, lifting her skirt to reveal the stocking tops, a short length of bare thigh and a pair of bright red satin panties.

Nina’s squeal of astonishment was quite impressive for someone who was gagged.

“I suppose we ought to turn these two loose now,” Suzanna said to Theda.

“If you see to that, I’ll put the kettle on for some tea,” Theda suggested.

* * *

What had been a television-free day was broken at Suzanna’s and Nina’s insistence to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special in the early part of the evening. As the evening wore on, cups of tea were drunk and various snacks indulged in. Callie and Theda brought out some of their collection of board games (which apparently they played quite often, but which Nina only ever seemed to see at Christmas).

“I’m thinking of bed soon,” Nina said as the time approached ten o’clock.

“I’m getting that way too,” Suzanna admitted. “Who’s going in which room?” she added as a question to Callie.

Callie’s house had three bedrooms. Two were equipped with double beds and were normally occupied by Callie and Theda respectively. The third bedroom had a single bed and was nominally the spare bedroom. By long-standing tradition, whenever Nina visited the house, she shared Theda’s bed, preferring the warmth and the company of her cousin to the single bed.

“The question is, does anyone want the single bed or do we want to pair up?” Callie asked.

“Pairing up would be warmer,” Theda pointed out. “Do we pair as mums and daughters or kids and grown-ups?”

“Or even aunts and nieces,” Suzanna added for completeness.

“Can I share with you, Mum?” Nina asked. “I don’t think I’ve done that since I was very little.”

“You’ll get kicked when she squirms around in her sleep,” Theda warned.

“Not if we tie her up,” Callie suggested, practically.

“Can I be tied up in bed, please, Mum?” Nina asked.

“Well nobody bothered asking me last time you were here, so I don’t know why you’re bothering to ask now,” her mother replied with mock severity.

“Was that ‘yes’?”

Suzanna nodded.

“Thank you,” Nina said, giving her mum a hug. “Have you ever tried sleeping tied up?” she added.

“Not for a very long time,” Suzanna replied. “When we were girls, Callie and I sometimes tied each other up when I stayed overnight and we talked Callie’s mum into tying us up too.”

“I’ve got a photo of that!” Theda exclaimed.

Callie and Suzanna stared at Theda in astonishment.

“I’ve been scanning Grandma’s old photographs and I came across several of you two playing games and one of them is the pair of you tied up in bed,” Theda explained. “I’ll show you.”

Theda got to her feet and left the room, returning a few minutes later with her laptop. She switched it on then started scrolling through a list of folders. “I’ve put them on the media server for safe keeping. Ones where I couldn’t find out a date are stored by subject. There’s a whole series of folders of Mum when she was little and the picture I’m thinking of is in one of them... Ah! Here we are.” She turned the computer round so the other three could see the image.

The picture showed two little girls, recognisably youthful versions of Suzanna and Callie. They were both in bed lying on their side looking at the camera with their knees slightly drawn up, Callie behind Suzanna. The blankets and top sheet had been thrown back so that it was obvious that both girls were bound and gagged.

“Is that really a woolly onesie you’re wearing, Mum?” Nina asked, pointing to the light blue and white striped outfit shown in the photograph.

Suzanna examined the picture then replied, “No it’s matching sweater and tights – very 1970s.”

Nina studied the picture further. Suzanna’s ankles and knees were tied with something brown that didn’t seem to be rope and there was more at her waist and around her upper arms and chest. Her hands were out of sight behind her back With Callie largely hidden by Suzanna, it was hard to tell but she seemed to be tied the same way. “Tied up with old stockings?”

“Yes, and utterly impossible to get out of when Callie’s mum tied us up with them,” Suzanna confirmed.

“She reckoned it was the only way she could tie us both up and be sure we couldn’t untie each other,” Callie added.

“Scissors?” Nina suggested.

“She thought of that – you can’t tell in the photo, but we both have socks over our hands so we couldn’t use scissors, even if we got hold of them,” Callie explained, “and we each had our wrists and ankles loosely linked with a stocking. It wasn’t a proper hog-tie, but enough that we couldn’t stand up straight to hop or shuffle anywhere.”

“But you could have got each other’s gags off, at least?”

“Not even that,” Suzanna said. “We were gagged with fuzzy yellow cotton dusters. They’re quite soft and comfortable to wear, but there’s no stretch, so you can’t just pull them down and we couldn’t use fingers or teeth on the knots.”

“So, stuck for the night then?” Nina asked with a grin.

“Yes, but at our own request,” Callie replied. “We’d demanded that it had to be a proper tie-up, that we couldn’t simply wriggle out of it and she took us at our word.”

“We always insisted that tie-up games had to be real tie-ups with no pretending,” Suzanna added.

“I agree with that,” Nina said emphatically, “but it still looks like it might have been an uncomfortable night.”

“It was,” Suzanna admitted. “We were both jammed into a single bed, we had our hands behind our backs and we couldn’t even stretch out properly.”

“And every time either of us moved, we collided with each other,” Callie pointed out.

“But you didn’t admit any of that to Grandma?” Theda said.

“Of course not!” Callie replied with a broad grin.

“So, are you up for being tied up tonight too?” Nina asked her mother.

Suzanna hesitated for only a moment before saying, “Yes, why not?”

* * *

After some discussion, it had been decided that Suzanna and Nina would share Theda’s bed, while Theda went in with her mother. Callie and Theda took the pragmatic approach that it was cheaper to wear more clothes in winter than to attempt to heat their draughty Victorian house above a background level. Accordingly, Nina was dressed in a fleece one-piece sleepsuit with attached feet and mittens. It was black with a pattern of red five-pointed stars. The red of the stars was echoed by the knitted hat she wore and by the collar of the sweater she wore under her sleepsuit together with a pair of warm tights and gloves.

Suzanna went to the bathroom to change into her night things while Theda sorted out the bundle of tying up scarves that had been heaped together after Nina and Callie had been released after the Uno game.

“How do you want to do this?” Nina asked her cousin.

“Just stand with your arms by your sides for the first bit,” Theda instructed her.

Theda selected the longest scarf of the set, which Nina had estimated to be about 4 metres long. She stood behind Nina, found the middle of the scarf and centred in on the middle of her back, just below her armpits. She fed the two ends forward between Nina’s arms and body then back outside the arms and forwards again between arms and body, so that each arm was encircled. Reaching around Nina, Theda took the ends of the scarf across the front of her cousin’s chest, switched hands and pulled them back between her arms and body again. She encircled each arm again and brought the ends of the scarf across Nina’s back. Theda repeated this pattern until she had completed five full circuits of Nina’s arms and chest, wrapping them down to her elbows. She finished off with a knot about level with the bottom of Nina’s sternum.

“Now, mittens on and cross your wrists in front of you,” Theda said as she picked up one of the shortest scarves.

Nina had the mittens of her sleepsuit folded back. She pulled her gloved hands back in through the wrist openings and thrust them down into the mittens then crossed her wrists, wriggling her elbows slightly to make her bonds a little more comfortable.

Theda deftly bound her cousin’s wrists, going round them both horizontally and vertically and finishing off with a knot at the top of the binding where Nina had no chance of reaching it. She picked up a slightly longer scarf and tied the centre of it vertically around Nina’s crossed wrists. She took the ends of the scarf around Nina’s waist crossed them over at the back and brought them around to the front again, where she tied them horizontally around her cousin’s wrist binding and knotted the ends.

“Wow,” Nina commented as she tested the security of her bonds.

“Now sit down on the edge of the bed and I’ll do your legs.”

Nina reversed up to the bed and sat down rather heavily without the aid of her hands.

Theda knelt down beside Nina and lashed her ankles tightly together with one of the shortest scarves then used two more slightly longer ones to tie her legs together above and below the knees.

“The red, pink and grey theme of the scarves goes nicely with your sleepsuit,” Suzanna commented, having watched the latter stages of her daughter’s binding.

“Yours won’t,” Nina replied, noting her mother’s nightwear.

Suzanna was wearing thick cotton pyjamas much like a sweatshirt and jogging pants in style. The top had horizontal stripes in cream and a light orange while the trousers were plain orange. A pair of thick cream coloured socks were pulled up over the elasticated cuffs of the pyjama trousers. She was wearing her rusty brown knitted beret and she had a matching pair of mittens the same colour in one hand.

“I disagree,” Suzanna said firmly. “Blues and greens are a good complement to this orange.”

“It’s entirely academic anyway,” Callie said as she entered the room, “because I’m going to tie you up with this.” She brandished a bundle of rope. “Your Aunt Suzie is something of an escape artist,” she added as an aside to Theda.

Theda helped Nina swing her legs up into bed and turned her attention to Suzanna. “How do we do this?” She asked her mother.

“Let’s do a nice secure chest harness first,” Callie announced. “Find the middle of that,” she added, handing a coil of rope to Theda.

While Theda was sorting out the rope, Callie examined Suzanna’s mittens. “Much too thin,” she commented. She disappeared out of the room and returned a couple of minutes later with a pair of much thicker grey mittens. She helped Suzanna put them on then pulled Suzanna’s own mittens on over the top. “That should stop you untying any knots,” she declared.

“Ready with the rope,” Theda said, holding up the folded-over middle for her mother to see.

“OK, Suzie, just hold your hands in front for now,” Callie instructed.

Suzanna clutched her mitten-covered hands together and watched with interest as Callie wrapped the doubled rope around her just below her bust.

Theda held the rope in place while her mother threaded the free end through the fold in the rope and then pulled it tight, lassoing Suzanna’s arms and chest. She reversed the direction of the rope, taking it around Suzanna a little higher up so that it went above her bust. Once again, she threaded it behind the ropes on Suzanna’s back and reversed direction, passing the doubled rope over her right shoulder. She took it right down to the lower of the two pairs of ropes across Suzanna’s chest, threaded it underneath then back up to the left shoulder. The ropes doubled back under the growing nexus of rope in the middle of Suzanna’s back and came forward over her left shoulder again. This time, Callie took the rope obliquely across the top of Suzanna’s chest to the upper of the two chest ropes. She wound it around Suzanna’s upper arm then pushed it forward between Suzanna’s right arm and body and between the upper and lower chest ropes. She pulled it down in front of the lower rope and took it to the rear and across Suzanna’s back to her left arm. Callie took the doubled rope on the symmetrically opposite path so that it went under then up in front of the lower chest rope, around her left arm then obliquely up to the right shoulder. She took in down to the lowest rope behind Suzanna’s back, looped the rope around it and left the ends to dangle down almost to the floor.

While her mother kept the tension on the rope, Theda carefully readjusted the chest harness so that all the strands of rope were arranged neatly.

“You can let your hands go now,” Callie said, “but move your feet apart.”

“I think I know what comes next,” Suzanna said as Callie reached between her legs.

Callie pulled the free ends of the rope forwards and up, fastening them off to the front of the chest harness where the V of rope coming down between Suzanna’s breasts met the lower of the chest ropes. The finished harness formed a neat inverted five pointed star and pinioned Suzanna’s arms firmly against her sizes while the rope under her crotch kept everything secure.

“Wrists next?” Theda asked, offering a suitable pice of rope.

“That’s right,” Callie said, taking the rope. She positioned Suzanna’s hands so that they were palm to palm then lashed her wrists together and cinched between them. She carefully fastened off the ends of the rope to the harness so that Suzanna’s hands were held in position.

“String?” Theda asked, holding up a piece of cotton twine about 30 centimetres long.

“You read my mind,” Callie said with a grin as she took it. It took only a few seconds to lash Suzanna’s thumbs together and to cinch between them. She tied the ends of the string off to Suzanna’s wrist binding for added security.

“You can sit down now,” Callie instructed.

Suzanna perched on the edge of the bed while Callie bound and cinched her legs above and below her knees. She then crossed Suzanna’s ankles and lashed them together so that stayed in that position.

“Are you going to be OK sleeping like that, Mum?” Nina asked, with a note of concern in her voice.

“It’s tight but it’s not uncomfortable. I’ll be fine once we get settled down,” Suzanna assured her.

“If you’ve both said all you want to, we just need to make sure neither of you does anything clever with her teeth,” Theda said. “Your gag scarf is still a bit soggy from this morning,” she told Nina, “but I still have this one left over.” She held up the last tie-up scarf in the set, one about 1.5 metres long.

Theda pushed the scarf between Nina’s teeth then wound it another twice across her face, so that she was covered from her throat to the bridge of her nose, and then double knotted it at one side so that she wasn’t lying on the knot.

“Can I borrow this?” Callie asked her daughter, extracting a brown woollen scarf from the box of tying-up materials in the bottom of Theda’s wardrobe.

“Go ahead – it makes a very comfy gag,” Theda invited.

Callie carefully judged the position to tie a knot in the scarf, pushed it into Suzanna’s mouth then wrapped the scarf around her head again, covering her mouth and nose, before knotting it at the side of her head, much as Theda had done with Nina.

“Well, if my escape artist auntie can get out of that, she can come and tie us up,” Theda said after examining Suzanna’s bonds once again.

“Don’t say that, she’ll take it as a challenge,” Callie chided as she pulled the duvet up over the two prisoners. She turned the light off and wished Nina and Suzanna a good night before closing the door.

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Post by Soraka »

Nina suffered the usual disorientation that goes with waking up bound and gagged in an unfamiliar bed. As she surfaced into full wakefulness, she remembered why she was tied up. She looked first to one side of the bed then the other in an effort to locate the alarm clock and was surprised to realise that her mother was not lying beside her. She raised her head and saw that Suzanna was sitting at Theda’s desk with a small lamp illuminating the book she was reading.

Suzanna looked up from her book in response to the sound of Nina moving. She turned it face down and stood up, dumping the blanket that had been around her shoulders on the desk chair. “Do you want me to get your gag off?” she asked crossing the room to look down on her daughter.

Nina nodded, then tipped her head to one side to allow her mother to get at the knot securing her gag. She swallowed a couple of times to get her voice working again then asked, “How come you’re not still tied up?”

“I woke up about 5 o’clock and needed the toilet – having a rope between your legs puts a bit of pressure on the waterworks,” she explained delicately.

“So you just escaped?”

“Well, it took about 20 minutes.”

“But I saw how much Aunt Callie and Theda tied you up, and you managed to get out of it?”

Suzanna shrugged modestly. “Well, it’s nice to know I can still do it,” she said. “It was kind of fun too.”

“When Theda left us last night she said you could tie her and Aunt Callie up if you escaped.”

“She did, didn’t she?”


“Do you want to come and see?” Suzanna asked with a grin.

Nina nodded, catching the grin.

Suzanna helped her daughter swing her legs out of bed and untied them. She helped Nina stand up then led her, with her arms still bound, to Aunt Callie’s bedroom.

The room was in darkness, so Suzanna turned on the light as they entered the room.

Callie’s bed had an old fashioned metal frame with ornamental brass head and foot boards and Suzanna had made good use of the opportunities that afforded. Both Callie’s and Theda’s hands were pulled up towards the head of the bed. Callie’s left wrist was secured to the corner post while her right wrist was bound to her daughter’s left and both anchored to one of the verticals in the centre of the bed head. Theda’s right wrist was fastened to the opposite corner post, completing the symmetry. From the positions of two ropes tied off to the vertical bars at the foot of the bed, Nina guessed that each of the women had her ankles tied together and a single rope taken from the binding to the bottom of the bed. Theda seemed to be asleep, but Callie lifted her head to look at Suzanna and Nina as they came into the room. The lower part of her face, from chin to just below her nose was covered by a tightly-tied silk scarf. It was fairly obvious to Nina’s eyes that there was possibly another scarf and certainly some packing underneath that. As she approached the double bed, she could see that Theda was gagged in the same way.

“It’s nearly 8 o’clock, so why don’t you go and have the first go at the shower while I turn these two loose?” Suzanna suggested to her daughter.

“Er, you’ll have to finish untying me first,” Nina pointed out.

* * *

Later, after a leisurely breakfast, Suzanna and Nina were ready to depart. Their bags were packed and loaded into the car and they were outside in the bitterly cold morning air making their farewells to Callie.

Nina had taken full advantage of her Christmas presents and was wearing her new pink sweater as her outermost layer with purple mittens pulled up over the cuffs.. Her blue denim jeans were tucked into her new boots with a centimetre or so of pink socks visible above them. Her dark red scarf was wound around her neck on top of the hood, which was thrown back, and her head was covered one more by the pink and purple balaclava, worn with the face open and pulled down below her chin.

In the expectation of another chilly drive with the heater off for Nina’s benefit, Suzanna’s orange scarf was pulled up over her nose and her rust-coloured beret pulled down to her eyebrows. A pair of denim jeans could be glimpsed in the gap between her brown sheepskin coat and her Ugg boots. The tops of a pair of mustard-coloured socks added a splash of colour to her legwear.

“Thank you for a brilliant Christmas, Aunt Callie,” Nina said, flinging her arms around her aunt and planting a kiss on her cheek.

As Callie was huddled in a huge grey woollen shawl, she was unable to return the hug until Nina let go. Hanging onto the edge of the shawl, she flung her arms wide, revealing the several layers of brightly-coloured sweaters and cardigans she was wearing over a pair of grey tweed culottes which came just below her knees, showing off her red and black striped socks she had under the moccasins she had on as house shoes. Her hug enveloped Nina in the shawl.

“Hold still,” Callie said after releasing Nina. She bent down slightly to reach more comfortably and pulled Nina’s balaclava up over her nose then fastened the button that converted it into a mask.

“Thank you – saves taking my mittens off to do that.”

Callie and Suzanna exchanged hugs then Callie said, a little irritably, “I would have expected Theda to be here to see you off.”

“That’s all right – I said goodbye a few minutes ago. She’s busy doing something upstairs,” Nina said.

Callie didn’t seem to be pleased with this explanation but said nothing.

With the farewells done as far as possible, Nina and Suzanna climbed into the car and set out for home.

“So Theda was ‘busy doing something upstairs’?” Suzanna commented suspiciously. “I wonder what the ‘something’ might be, Nina.”

“Well,” Nina began tentatively, her guilty grin hidden by her mask, “Theda pointed out that I was the only one of us who didn’t properly get to tie anyone up yesterday.”

“You tied yourself up and you helped me,” her mother pointed out.

“Yes, but that was all. I never really initiated anything.”

“And Theda let you have a go on her?”

“It was more of a challenge the way she put it.”

“So the ‘something’ she’s doing is wriggling in yards and yards of rope?”

“Not at all,” Nina retorted. “I remember you told me one time that if you can do a really secure job on someone’s wrists behind their back, then they’re pretty much scuppered, so I’ve only tied her wrists and ankles.”

“Why do I think there must be more to it than that?”

“Well, I may have gone to town a bit on her gag to make it a bit harder for Aunt Callie to find her,” Nina admitted.

* * *

It was about an hour after Suzanna and Nina’s departure that Callie looked up from the book she was reading as she realised that she had neither seen nor heard anything of Theda for a long time. More out of curiosity than concern, she glanced into the principal rooms downstairs but found no sign of her daughter. She climbed the stairs and repeated the operation. Puzzled, Callie went back downstairs and carried out a more systematic search but without success. Upstairs again, she went right into each room, rather than just looking in from the door and called out Theda’s name.

Finally, Callie heard a response, so indistinct she almost missed it, a soft thump from somewhere. After calling Theda’s name again, it was repeated. It took several repetitions for her to trace the sound to the large wooden chest under the window in Theda’s bedroom, which was used both as a seat and for storing blankets. She removed the cushion from the flat top of the chest and dumped it on Theda’s bed. Callie attempted to lift the lid of the chest only to find that it was locked and the key had been removed. She wasted several minutes looking for the key before finding it right in front of her on the windowsill.

With the blanket chest open, Callie could clearly see a covered figure squirming under a blanket. She lifted the top blanket out to reveal the her daughter lying on her side with her knees drawn up to fit inside the chest. She was wearing just black woollen tights and a heavy blue sweater. Her wrists were crossed and bound behind her back with white rope, which had been positioned to lie against the sleeves of her sweater rather than her bare skin. The binding was secured by a single knot positioned well out of the reach of Theda’s fingers. Her ankles were secured with a cinched binding in the same white rope. Her head was swathed in a black woollen scarf so that only her curly hair showed.

Callie stared at her daughter’s predicament for a moment until a barely-audible mumble spurred her into action. She untied the knot securing the scarf around Theda’s head and unwound it. A black sleep mask covering her eyes was revealed together with a floral-patterned silk scarf tied tightly across her mouth. Callie unhooked the elastic loops on the mask from Theda’s ears then tugged at the knot on the gag, loosening it after several tries. As the scarf came away, it exposed a red cotton bandanna, very damp in the middle, between Theda’s teeth. Once that was untied, Callie was able to remove the silk scarf stuffed into her daughter’s mouth.

“Thanks,” Theda croaked drily as her mother freed her wrists and ankles.

“Nina said you were busy doing something upstairs. I take it this was her doing?” Callie asked.

“I challenged her to tie me up, so I’ve nobody to blame but myself,” Theda admitted as she climbed out of the chest. “I didn’t realise how good she is at it these days.”

“She’s most definitely her mother’s daughter,” Callie concluded.
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Post by gaggedrock29 »

Amazing series
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